Thank you, mum

Thank you, mum

My comfort and my biggest fear both at once, you have helped me to win battles, and avoid them at your own peril too.

You have sacrificed the hollow of your womb for me to develop and be nourished by you. And now, you would give it all up for me, from financing my education, rent, practical survival, to ensuring I look and feel my best with the occasional treats and salon appointments.

Meeting me in McDonalds at 8am after I had thrown up on my clothes after a heavy night, buying me orange juice and a bag full of warm clothes, you wouldn’t have thought twice.

Pushing me to be the best. Sometimes, reducing me to tears because I didn’t believe in myself. But you always did. You never lost faith in me.

I hated having overprotective parents. Yet, I have become an independent, intelligent woman thanks to my upbringing. You didn’t want to see your youngest go into town on her own at the age of 14, but you didn’t want to smother me either. You nailed the whole parenting thing.

Giving me the big half of every food we would share, even buying me another ice cream after I would ask for mint chocolate and throw a tantrum after taking the first lick, and learning that I hated it. I did this more than once. And every time you still coped.

You have always accepted my friends  with open arms, treating them as your own and never judging their faults. You treat my boyfriend like a son too, which is something you didn’t have to do, but I appreciate you for it.

Juggling a full time job with caring for two daughters when my dad would be working abroad, cleaning after us, ironing all weekend or with your arms in a bucket of hot soapy water, you don’t relax enough.

Anywhere with you is a sanctuary, because you are home to me, and you are my mum.

Happy Mother’s Day to my glorious, wonderful mum. I hate to get soppy, but as every Mothering Sunday comes along, there also comes the eventual realisation that one could be the last you get to celebrate for your mum’s sake.

I genuinely couldn’t function without my mum, as I seem to text her every day with some form of advice being sought.

I love you, mum, this day’s for you. X

 

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The place that doesn’t exist: the friend zone

The place that doesn’t exist: the friend zone

When I visited Bali last summer, I was overwhelmed at the amount of Balinese folk who actually came up to me to ask the rather invasive question of “where are you going?” Thanks to reading the ever so shallow novel of a white-girl-who-found-herself-abroad i.e. Eat Pray Love while sunbathing, I realised that the Balinese aren’t just nosey. They want to insert people into their own map, apparently, as this gives them a sense of order and balance.

Then there would be the question of “are you married?” if you’re a woman. If you say no, they’ll probably seem shocked and asked whether you will be soon. In Bali, you’re either married or you’re not married. There’s no compromise.

Upon arriving back in England, I then entered into a relationship with somebody I had been dating for a while which is now long distance. And I cannot lie, suddenly exiting Singlesville may as well require you being branded with hot coals stating that you are in fact married and you have to alert the Balinese that your situation has changed, as that’s how it felt. I lost a handful of male friends simply because I was now somebody’s girlfriend.

If you’re friends with a guy for a long period of time, and you then enter into a relationship with somebody else, you’d expect that friendship to still sustain and be maintained regardless of your relationship status. In an ideal world this would be the eventuality anyway.

To have a male ‘friend’ cut off all communication with you just because you now have a boyfriend basically presumes that that person was never a friend in the first place. To have romantic intentions implies you need some sort of genuine platonic background first surely, but not for a sexual intention. So, perhaps it is a good thing for a significant other to practically indirectly audit your ‘friends’, removing the ones who were basically only there to get in your pants. Like, what I was I meant to do, ask the permission of all my male friends before I could have a relationship? Will this be the same when I’m married? Modern dating has too many unspoken rules.

If a friend, regardless of gender, liked me platonically, they would get over the fact that I am unavailable to date. If they fancied me or wanted to enter into a relationship with me, they did have their chance at asking whether I wanted to go on a date. If I were having drinks or a meal with a male friend, this does not automatically mean we’re on a date unless one of us stated expressly and the other accepted. But then, if they merely wanted sex, then good riddance.

I still think the concept of a ‘friend zone’ is ridiculous though. Why should my friends be painted with the same brush anyway? I have different levels of friends. There are my close, tight friends, then friends who I probably only talk to because it’s convenient, then mere acquaintances, people you work with, etc. Does that mean my parents are in the friend zone? Is there a people-I-hate zone? Does the zone have Netflix? This is how absurd the term is.

Of course, as with my situation, this zone is barren of any so-called friendship. Real friends support each other, whether they’ve broken up with somebody or have just become Facebook offish with somebody. The zone is an excuse for an individual to wave off their rejected efforts of seduction and sexual advances in an attempt to restore their ego and pride. It’s as if this person assumes the other on the receiving end will say yes to them, should something transpire.

Being nice to somebody, being a friend, does not entitle you to sex. Not even a kiss. We don’t owe everybody who is friendly to us any romance or sexual reward. A lovely old lady at the post office helped me the other day, but I didn’t pull down my trousers then and there and demand she pleasure me, did I?

The other thorny issue is when these guys are rejected. Things can turn violent with all sorts of abuse being thrown at the girl’s end, when all that the girl has done has been a caring friend and actually perceived this other person as a decent, honest person. The hilarity.

Back when I used Tinder, sometimes a match would pop up on the chat complimenting me in some way or another. I was the worst replier so didn’t of course reply straightaway. Then soon enough the guy would put “f*ck you then you ugly b*tch” which I still can’t get my head around. I don’t think my lecturers would appreciate it if, upon them not responding to my email queries, I tell them “actually, you know what, I hate your journal articles”. It doesn’t really achieve a lot.

The friend zone doesn’t exist. Rejection is rejection. There’s absolutely no need to fake a friendship just for the possibility that the other will bend over backwards for you. Of course, if you do suspect such a fake friend pretending to be nice to you, you can always quote Trump and tell them they’re fake news. That’s one way of scaring them off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Things of Christmas

12 Things of Christmas

‘Tis the season to pre-purchase the trusty Cadbury’s advent calendar and nag your housemates that it IS soon enough to get the Christmas decs out (or alternatively raid Wilkos for the requisites). Oh, and to turn Private Mode off when listening to the festive bangers on Spotify.

That’s right, Christmas is so damn soon. There are barely any days left of November. I haven’t even tried a pumpkin spice latte yet alone a frosted snowman mince pie cookie candle hot chocolate yet or whatever they call them this year.

But, I am always excited for Christmas. As a university student constantly being engulfed by the tsunami of assignments, particularly in the run up until term finishes, I anticipate the magic of Christmas just as much as a small child. That could just be because I am looking forward to all the homemade roasts requiring no graft by me, especially as I will never be able to nail crispy roast potatoes like my dad’s.

So, I thought I would crank down on the Christmas build up with my twelve things of the jolly season… And no, these aren’t necessarily my favourite or worst things. Just things.

1) Running to the window on Christmas morning and anticipating snow

Why this is something I’m always compelled to do is mystifying. I just long for a damn white Christmas I guess, ok?! Bing Crosby set the bar too bloody high and now the polar ice caps are melting, and even the polar bears won’t get a white Christmas unless they swim a half-marathon through the warming Arctic waters. At this rate, lads will be getting ‘Arctic 2k33’ tattooed on their ankles after booking a package holiday in the new party destination, with Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents eagerly following them. At this rate I think I’ll only ever experience a white Christmas if I move to the moon.

2) Rating other people’s roasts

Whoever solely or mainly cooks the roast in the household, whatever trimmings are chosen, and whether you opt for turkey or equivalent, nothing will ever compare to the roast you eat. And God forbid why some think it’s a great idea to Snapchat or Instagram their roast. We get it! You have been fed by the lovely elves of Christmas! Fuck off, of course you’re eating a roast; you’re so unpredictable and a loose cannon. It’s even more revolting when the ‘flash’ setting is turned on the camera. Your sprouts look the Grinch’s testicles, whereas mine are perfect, petite green bundles of love.

3) Eating your advent calendar in one sitting

On too many occasions I have come in drunk from a night out and ripped open my advent calendar. To be fair, it was either some £1 chunks of chocolate or unleashing the food specifically reserved for Christmas, like the Guylian chocolates or cranberry Wensleydale. So damn tasty.

4) Faking happiness at the table

I shan’t elaborate on 2016’s detriment to us all. That is unless you’ve just come out of a year’s coma, then for all you know Harambe is well and Lennon finally achieved world peace. The most intense conversations with relatives always seem to happen round the dining table, it seems, whether that concerns relationships, racism, or riffraff. Because one of Santa’s elves dies every time you express your true, sour opinion during Christmas, you instead have to fake your satisfaction and zest for life. It’s hard to keep up, but do you really want to exhaust all your anger out on topical issues when really it could be over Monopoly?

5) Those particular people who just want January 1st to arrive to post their ‘New Year, New Me’ statuses

I can understand how the New Year is a time to rethink your goals and priorities in life, but if you were really set on improving something about you, you don’t need the excuse of your calendar saying ‘January 1st’. Maybe I’m being too cynical. Well in fact, yes I know I am. To put a positive spin on New Year’s Day, I will probably spend the day hungover in bed, scrolling through my newsfeed and deleting anybody who posts about changing themselves. Or I’ll make my resolution to be supportive of all the strangers I have as friends on Facebook. We’ll see how bad my hangover will be.

6) The uncertainty of Christmas presents

There was nothing I actually wanted for Christmas this year. Albeit money to fund my trip to New York in January. There are, however, a multitude of things that I don’t want for Christmas. I still don’t particularly want Brexit to be a thing, or how xenophobic a substantial proportion of the population have become. But how do I express these wishes on my Christmas list to Lapland? Maybe I’ll ask Santa to stop sh*tty people do even sh*ttier things, but then again, Santa is a very, very old man who may have different conceptions of equality and fairness to me.

7) So. Much. Alcohol.

Freud contended that the superego and id are in battle with one another; the great war between the pleasure principle and your conscience. Much can be said too about the cosy, ‘hygge’ side to you, and the sesh-fuelled part of you. As a child, I would wake up at 7:00am to watch various movies on TV, and to see whether Santa had arrived (Santa didn’t come until about 10:00am, which I realise now was due to my parents’ hangovers). But becoming a teenager I would have a lie-in and express apathy towards anything that even slightly resembled tinsel. But now, being 21, I seem to get rather jolly on the wine, beer and Bailey’s on Christmas Eve, which of course is the gassiest concoction there is. And parents just seem to go mad for the bottles at this time of year. So, it’d be rude not to help finish them. Come around 8:00am on Christmas morning, I am pretty buzzing for the day ahead like a kid again, but this may be because I’m still tipsy. Then BAM, 10:00am and I’m feliz navidead with my head in the toilet bowl. That doesn’t stop me from having a Bucks Fizz with brunch, however.

8) The cheese board

I genuinely would struggle living the life I do if I had a lactose intolerance. Milk is my life, which would also make being vegan particularly troublesome. Yet, I choose the lifestyle that embraces dairy goods, particularly cheese. And nothing says Christmas like a variety selection of cheese as well as Jacobs Crackers.

9) When prehistoric decorations emerge

Whether it’s already happened or you wait until Christmas Eve like some sort of Grinch, the annual decoration amnesty is bound to happen. You can even pretend to be Santa himself with his sack of presents as you come up from the cellar with binbags of questionable decorations, and maybe a plastic tree. In previous year, we had an aesthetic tree in the dining room, and a ‘dog’s dinner tree’ (as my mum named it) upstairs, which showcased all the Winnie the Pooh characters in Christmas outfits and all those random baubles we seem to have accumulated as presents from random family friends and relatives. I don’t know why this is a thing.

10) The post-roast stew

Is it even Christmas if you have a turkey that could quite literally Feed the World yet ends up feeding your family for consecutive nights? Whether it’s in bubble and squeak, a pie, a soup, or a traditional festive curry, it’s the least we can do for Band Aid.

11) Attempting to make your pets get involved with the festivities

If you have a pet, it’s imperative to force your Scrooge-like cat to wear reindeer antlers, or put a miniature Santa hat on your guinea pig. Then there’s dogs who will have probably already picked out their Christmas style this season, being the flamboyant beasts they are.

12) Finally, the TV

Nothing says Christmas like gathering the family around the fire with mulled wine and Christmas pudding to watch a festive-themed gameshow. Some households probably recite extracts from the Bible on the holy day which is clearly understandable. Yet, many of us worship alcohol and the media, being the greedy, 21st century b*stards we are.

As blasphemous as we may have become during the Christmas season, it will always be my favourite time of year.